Delegate Elizabeth Guzman is a prolific and effective legislator, running for her third term to the Virginia House of Delegates. A mother to four children, Elizabeth is a social worker and public administrator who was one of the first two Latinx women elected to the House of Delegates.
Because she did not have the opportunity to go to college in Peru, Elizabeth came to America more than two decades ago as a young single mother with $300 in her pocket. She worked three minimum wage jobs — at Wendy’s, CVS, and a department store — in order to afford a one-bedroom apartment for herself and her daughter. She eventually put herself through Northern Virginia Community College and later earned two master’s degrees, building a career as a social worker who protected children from abuse. She spent years working at Fairfax County Public Schools and Fairfax Office for Children’s Head Start. Now she oversees a $20 million operations budget for the City of Alexandria’s Dept. of Adult Services, which serves adults with substance use disorders and seniors facing food insecurity.
Elizabeth first got involved in politics in 2006 as an activist fighting Corey Stewart’s efforts to bring the 287(g) partnership with ICE to Prince William County. Nearly a decade and a half later, Elizabeth successfully led the charge to end the program and as a newly-appointed member of the county’s Jail Board. For years, she volunteered for Democratic candidates and later co-founded Indivisible NOVA West. The Washington Post reported that in 2016, Elizabeth was a “part of a group of activists who brought a sense of urgency to the local Democratic Party committee, which has since evolved into a formidable fundraising apparatus for new candidates like [now-Delegate Candi] King.”
Elizabeth was inspired by Bernie Sanders’ call for everyday people to run for office, a decision that was cemented when Hillary Clinton lost and Elizabeth’s 9-year-old son said the family had to return to Peru “because Donald Trump doesn’t like people who speak Spanish.”
Elizabeth defeated a 16-year- Republican incumbent in Virginia’s 2017 Blue Wave, a race that was profiled by the Huffington Post and GoodFight Media in the 2018 documentary “Storm The Gates.” Shortly after her election, Elizabeth was invited by now-Speaker Pelosi to give the 2018 Spanish language response to Trump’s State of the Union address. She was elected by her colleagues to serve as Chair of the Freshman Class and campaigned across the Commonwealth as the Virginia Co-Chair of Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign. Later in the year, she proudly accepted an invitation from the Biden campaign to serve on now-President Joe Biden’s National Latino Leadership Council and campaigned for the Biden-Harris ticket throughout the state.
Elizabeth is committed to building a Virginia that is #1 not just for business, but also for workers. She is a second-generation union member and “one of the most progressive voices in the House of Delegates, carving out a role as an advocate for working-class Virginians and organized labor,” as noted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She passed historic legislation to lift Virginia’s blanket ban on public sector collective bargaining and is leading the fight for a paid sick days law so that no Virginian has to choose between their health and a paycheck. She was also chief co-patron of the bill to raise the minimum wage and a voice against delaying its implementation.
Elizabeth, who passed 19 bills in her first three years in office, serves as Vice-Chair of the Education Committee and was named 2020’s “Legislator of the Year” by the Virginia Education Association and by the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers. She is a co-founder of the Virginia Green New Deal and was named a 2020 “Legislative Leader” by the Virginia League of Conservation Voters and has previously received an A+ and A with Extra credit rating from the Sierra Club. She was chief co-patron of the bill to decriminalize marijuana and sponsored legislation to raise the age at which juveniles are automatically tried as adults from 14 to 16. The Daily Press noted she waged a “three-year campaign” to achieve such a “sweeping re-thinking of how to deal with kids accused of felonies.”
Elizabeth, whose district encompasses parts of the majority-minority Prince William County as well as parts of the more rural and red Fauquier County, has worked diligently to bridge the rural-urban divide and ensure that all communities in her district are represented.
Elizabeth and her husband Carlos reside in Dale City with their four children and her mother, Gregoria.